About 2 million acres in the state of Texas are planted to turfgrass. With increasing water shortages, it is important that homeowners learn to manage this valuable resource and avoid severe restrictions in the future.
A handbook titled "Turfgrass Management for the Texas Panhandle" is now available to help landowners grow beautiful, but water-smart, landscapes. The publication was put together by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service specialists in Amarillo. Homeowners can find information in the handbook that covers grass types, establishment, lawn care, weed control, insects, and diseases.
"Homeowners need to learn to apply only necessary water, as well as nutrients and pesticides, to their lawn," says Dr. Brent Bean, Texas AgriLife Extension Service agronomist and co-author of the book. "Continued water issues could lead to severe restrictions in available water for lawns in the future."
Turfgrass should be watered just prior to visible signs of water stress. The information includes the best times to water, how to determine how much water to apply, and when to turn the sprinklers off, Bean notes.
"Experience and observations have shown that most homeowners over-water their landscape," he says. "It is estimated that as much as 20 percent to 25 percent of municipal water in the spring and fall—and up to 60 percent in the summer—is being used for irrigation of home landscapes."
Factors to consider when establishing a watering or irrigation plan are: turfgrass species, soil type, management practices and weather conditions, Bean says. The publication outlines the most commonly grown grasses in the Panhandle and the differences in their needs when it comes to water and fertilizer. For a version online, homeowners can go to http://amarillo.tamu.edu/agronomy and just click on the Turfgrass link. Published copies the booklet also will be available at Texas AgriLife Extension Service county offices throughout the High Plains starting in May.